FORUM: Christine Desan’s Making Money/ Desan’s Response

Christine Desan

Christine Desan is the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the author of Making Money: Coin, Currency, and the Coming of Capitalism (Oxford University Press, 2014), a book arguing that a radical transformation in the way societies produce money ushered in capitalism as a public project. Current projects include exploring the way that money configures commensurability, the way that commercial banks allocate credit with public authority, and the intellectual history of money and capital creation in the discipline of economics. Desan co-founded Harvard’s Program on the Study of Capitalism in 2005 and is the founding editor of a virtual research center/network,, that explores monetary and financial design as important vectors of governance. As a member of Steering Committee of the Massachusetts Public Bank Coalition, she recently helped draft legislation now under deliberation. Desan organizes the conference series on Money as a Democratic Medium, which will reconvene and welcome interested participants in June 2023.

Mapping the Field of Money Studies

In The Cartographers, a fabulous new tale by Peng Shepard, maps make a world real.[1] In the fiction, mapmakers bring a town into being when they draw it. Those who have the map–and only those–can find the town ever afterwards. Within the fact that prompted Shepard’s flight of fancy, there lies an equally enticing story. After an early 20th century drafting company included an imagined community on its maps, those who lived in the area understood their settlement as that space. Recognizing the town gave it life, a substance, and a future.

I interpret this colloquium as an exercise in mapping a field we might call money studies. Money is, after all, a medium basic to modern societies. It is the way we capture value much of the time: the practice we develop to compare, hoard, or distribute it. But unlike other media that have rich traditions of study–think language and linguistics, music and musicology, law and jurisprudence (and legal sociology and comparative law and legal history for that matter)–we have long neglected money. That is striking because money, like language, law, and music, has recognizable structures, textured variation and design divergence, intricate histories, and different conceptual registers. And again like those other media, money has an enormous impact on everyday life.

First, a note of thanks to the organizers and the contributors to the colloquium. It has been a gift of intellectual engagement with scholars I admire profoundly; I am enormously grateful. All of the essayists captured the territory central to my project, often better than I have done. All of them then took that core argument in a different direction. In the spirit of their engagement, I want briefly to flag the central contention in Making Money and then follow the trajectories they suggest. In that way, I hope to sketch and substantiate an area of scholarship that is increasingly rich and multi-dimensional. That field compels our attention for many reasons, from illuminating our past and understanding capitalism to reforming contemporary policy in an increasingly unequal world.

At its core, Making Money makes a pair of joined points. One, money is the site—the constitutional medium—in which markets are made. Two, a radical redesign in money brought the peculiarly “market-based” order we understand as capitalism. To restate those two sentences in the opposite order: Money is indeed essential to capitalism–just not in the way we thought it was.

For centuries, commentators have identified money with capitalism. According to that view, this new political economy arrives when money, “the money form,” or the proclivity to value all things in money becomes dominant. Karl Marx, Georg Simmel, and Karl Polanyi can be read in this vein, while Robert Brenner made market dominance his explicit touchstone.[2] Similarly, a recent history proposes that “capitalism” takes hold “when the capital process [of investment-oriented valuation] has become habitual, sufficiently dominating economic life, having appropriated the production and distribution of wealth towards its pecuniary ends.”[3] In these accounts, capitalism amounts to the spread of money, the profit orientation, and the market.[4] Capitalism, in crude shorthand, is ultimately a matter of degree.[5]

It’s an evocative approach, eerily in line with the economic premise that markets can and should become more and more “complete.” That premise assumes that money, as a basic measure of value, can reach all objects up for exchange. When it does, consumers experience greater satisfaction.[6] “The market” prevails.

The convergence should clue us in to the fact that something else, something more loaded, is going on. The commentators above treat money as if it were an instrument per se, a black box, an entity that is self-evident or at least sufficient to the proposition.[7] That approach obscures an entirely different possibility. It is not that capitalism arrives when money per se dominates–for money has never been a per se matter. Rather, capitalism arrives when money of a particular kind dominates.

That practice operates in a whole series of registers–political, legal, institutional, ideational—and those registers are emphatically grounded. Money is not an object, convention, or simple measure. It is not an instrument that, once invented or discovered, caught-and-released, simply circulates. It is a project: a complex set of relations enacted at public and private levels to entail and distribute value. To make and maintain a unit of account over time requires creating a value people accept as commensurable, configuring credit, determining how it will be distributed, connecting credit to “capital,” allocating authority over value’s maintenance and expansion, enforcing the system, and managing change.

In that sense, money produces “the market”–but each market is itself a phenomenon distinct to the money that is intrinsic to its dynamics. And those markets, like the monetary projects that shape them, differ qualitatively. Thus, financial histories and theories of finance that assume the evolution of best practices are just as misleading as narratives that neglect the monetary project altogether.[8] Capitalism is not a matter of degree. It is the political economy that has developed since the early modern period as part and as consequence of the radical monetary project that began in that era.

Indeed, the power of capitalism, its seamless hold on societies, flows in part from our failure to scrutinize the nature of the medium we use, the societal work required to create and maintain that medium in every age, and how that medium has changed. That failure is not incidental or accidental. Rather, the very changes that re-made money as a medium also deflect attention to money as a collective project. Modern money operates according to a design that emphasizes the primacy of private agency, congruent with the classically liberal era of its origins. As a result, the medium invites reification as a product of decentralized exchange. The narrative can be broadened by recognizing the force of social convention or cultural forces, while maintaining the intuitive reliance on spontaneous or extra-political organization. The models created to explain the phenomenon in economics reinforce that approach. That is, again, no accident.[9]

So what was the revolution in money’s design that took off in the early modern period? The basic idea was to privatize, or putatively privatize, the elemental public authority to create a common medium of value. Improvised and maintained against a sovereign baseline, the new design placed initiative to expand the common medium in private hands and muted the background capacity of a polity to define (and redefine) that basic medium.

The strategy operated by recasting finance: it transformed banks from mercantile partners to retail money providers, agents that supplied both the government and the community with circulating credit that functioned as currency. The strategy worked because the government anchored the system as its central borrower, and a borrower that could ultimately redeem any bank promise by taxing in that credit. As a fiscal structure, channeling public debt through an outside lender was gratuitous; governments can always issue, retire, and make transferable credit denominated in their sovereign unit, including for their own use. But the new circuitry mattered in ways we have barely begun to explore. It broke down traditional barriers to money creation, an approach far more fertile than “accumulating” capital and arguably essential to the Industrial Revolution.[10] It elevated third-party creditors, sanctified their profit incentive as beneficial, and appointed their commercial judgment as both a crucial expertise and a constraint on government. It dredged channels for abundant liquidity within its peculiar terms, sorting people and the resources they could claim.

Each change had explosive potential. “Financialization” was not an endpoint, solely the excrescence that followed the accumulation of capital; it was a mode of creating capital and allotting it, one that segregated people and opportunities. As Katie Moore writes of its own advertisement, “This structure of debt-based…finance married private gain and public good, wedding the pursuit of profit to the common interest, and establish[ing] the foundations of modern capitalist finance.” National banks still operate that way today, although the process took decades to establish fully. Likewise, commercial banks came of age slowly, but developed into juggernaut suppliers of retail credit money when and because they were assimilated into the national payments system.[11]

In the end, modern societies institutionalized a wholesale change in the way they produced their basic economic medium. They revised legal doctrine, reconceptualized the role of “private” and “public,” innovated banks of issue, delegated power over the money supply to that industry, entrenched its allocation of credit, and elaborated an infrastructure to manage the kind of money that flowed out–prolific yet crisis-prone, powerful yet fragile, directed according to commercial ends and maintained with public resources.

The institutionalized order itself invited participants to understand money as springing from exchange, the work of investors, rather than a medium operating for purposes public, private, and hybrid, the prerogative of equally complex polities. In those circumstances, an entire discipline developed to model “the market” as an emanation or aggregation of individuated choice. “Market” and “government” became separate arenas, appropriately divided between economics and politics/law as subjects of study. That left money, the political project that created the modern market, largely homeless as a subject.[12] In that fashion, capitalism formatted its own medium and closed it off from study.

We need a dramatically different approach to markets and money. Most obviously, “the market” is part of the built environment, a phenomenon that depends on the medium that creates it. Both markets and moneys are, in fact, modes of governance, made out of myriad institutional, legal, ideological, and disciplinary practices. As for “capitalism,” it is a very specific contrivance in my view, constructed primarily over the last four centuries in a global drama that redrew the very medium of valuation, exchange, and finance, creating synergistically new modes of production, extraction, accumulation, and distribution. Defining capitalism as anchored in a monetary project gives it remarkable coherence over time and space, the illuminating grip that is ultimately the touchstone for any working definition.[13]

More generally, considering moneys and markets as paired projects, engineered in particular ways, opens up new histories. Society after society has improvised a medium for value by configuring internal relations to entail value in particular ways, distributing obligation and defining exchange differently as they work. I understand the essays in this colloquium to focus on money studies in that way. A sample of that work, suggestive if clearly incomplete, follows.

Katie Moore approaches modern money as state-building and a vector of empire.[14] The two are, of course, tightly tied. Britain configured early American development with mercantilist policies engineered for its own money system, engendering a settler backlash that remade provincial governance. Moore is part of a cohort of new scholars who are illuminating the way colonists improvised sui generis political economies as they improvised idiosyncratic moneys.[15] That drama primed Americans for rebellion and the contentious constitutional conflict that followed.[16] Once we see it (or sketch it?), the pattern is pervasive: nations from revolutionary France to Soviet Union take shape or fall apart as they struggle to make working moneys.[17]

As Moore emphasizes, money projects transgress borders even as they write them. While American settlers pioneered their own monetary space, they were decimating the modalities of indigenous exchange.[18] The Western drama, a focus here given my own work, is obviously a mere sliver of the space. Worlds away, communities shaped and shape different relations through media that scholars recognize as monetary, tracing the changes and collisions that occurred.[19]

Over the next three centuries, capitalism traveled globally as money based on retail bank credit spread, elaborated by novel forms of public debt, capital markets, and commercial banking. Those conduits redefined value as they moved, proliferating liquidity, allotting credit, extracting labor, channeling wealth.[20] The new circuitry leveraged obligation upon whole communities according to parochial logics.[21] It built and then policed access to an edifice of financial possibility.[22]

Samuel Knafo’s work highlights the arc of capitalism as just such an enterprise. His book, The Making of Modern Finance, subverts conventional histories of the Gold Standard. It recasts the period as one of expanding “monetary governance,” rather than laissez-faire. Under the wing of liberal mythmaking about individuated activity, modern states were actually developing new tools and policies to knit together emerging monetary institutions. A distinctive quartet—national banks, public debt, capital markets, commercial banks—created dynamics that could conflict or mesh, work together to produce powerful effects or financial disaster.[23] His essay rightly bids more attention to the huge and complex territory that is central banking, the governing enterprise increasingly taken on by national banks. As he suggests, that territory is contested, a fraught space where financial actors often hold the initiative and “the public” is not nearly so seamless an entity as it may appear in my own work.

Knafo’s call is perfectly timed. The Financial Crisis of 2008, its problematic aftermath, the dramatic central bank response to the COVID-19 crisis, “financialization,” and escalating inequality–all have spurred scholars to home in on what he terms “monetary governance.” Traditionally, financial regulation focused as a legal field on financial stability, administration, or at most, banking “soundness.” The new central bank scholars are driven instead by queries about the design (or design debate) of the current system, as evidenced by its instability and escalating inequality. Much more critically oriented than most “fin reg” writers, they examine the process of institutional change and the power dynamics that penetrate the modern architecture.[24] They problematize the politics of expertise in both law and in economics, reframing debates over central bank independence and accountability in both domestic and comparative constitutional law.[25] The approach also makes integral global dynamics, drawing on decades of research that critically evaluates the monetary conventions imposed by imperial officials, “money doctors,” and the IMF.[26] Empirical studies on inequality have supercharged the effort, raising the issue how the monetary hardwiring relates to increasing disparities.[27] Stepping back, another group of scholars identifies money as a terrain of political theory. That approach actually returns money and monetary governance to the stature it once claimed in elite discourse.[28]

Ultimately, the lines of inquiry that Moore and Knafo suggest implicate the very categories of our knowledge. Nicholas Mayhew’s essay makes that point: it identifies the character of the market as the matter at stake in the analytics we assume. Most obviously, he corrects our modern myopia, exposing the medieval past, like the ancient world, to be a monetary drama as powerful as our own. Coin only masquerades as a simple commodity instrument; its making and management are the terrain of struggle over political power and material distribution.[29]

Just as much is at stake in the ways we conceptualize money. As Mayhew points out, the question whether medieval European coin traveled by count or by weight seems arcane at first. But the issue represents an elemental divide: if money travels by count, the market it makes is an enterprise that draws on public definition and enforcement; if money travels by weight, the market it facilitates (only facilitates) is a natural or at least less collectively organized phenomena, one that emerges from sensory clues rather than political debate. Because our starting points direct us in fundamentally different ways, a cascade of consequences follow. Mayhew’s own work samples one: the widespread method of standardizing prices by reducing different currencies to metal value may be misguided.[30] Likewise, recognizing money’s value as a legal matter suggests new queries about how medieval and early modern communities made everyday exchange.[31]

A bold turn in money studies illuminates the defining importance of our premises. For example, a recent article on how banks work exposes how pervasively assumptions about private ordering shape everything from research agendas (e.g., private contracts, not industry organization) to regulatory policy (e.g., curing market “failure,” not reforming market structure).[32] Another stream of scholarship reveals that the corporate finance approach to banks as “intermediaries” diverted attention to their operation as “money creators.” That mistake in turn obscured the rise and similar operation of “shadow banks,” the entities that crashed in 2008 and 2009.[33] Contemporary economic policy comes in for more critique by modern monetary theory, or MMT, which reaches radically different prescriptions in part because it revises the orthodox conception of what money is.[34] An alternative line of monetary theory insists on the conceptual fusion of money and finance in the modern world, framing modern liquidity as a product of the capital markets.[35]

The conceptual reflectivity of these studies is the key to the final trajectory traced here. Roy Kreitner thematizes the methodological as critical to the very enterprise of money studies. He puts understanding capitalism as the query and advocates approaching that project deliberately, with multiple lenses that will each reveal distinctive attributes but will also work together to produce a whole with greater depth. The historical lens reveals the singular and embedded nature of experience; the analytic occurs as we draw commonalities across those contingencies; attention to ideas and ideology enable us to recognize the “conditions of possibility” that attend human action. A multi-faceted approach may be particularly necessary with a phenomenon like capitalism, which relies for its power upon its self-evidence, its congruence with so many supporting and supplemental narratives that we need not question its common-sense.[36]

The methodological synthesis that Kreitner advocates draws on ambitious precedents—from Marx and Engels to Foucault to Gramsci—all of whom understood capitalism as remaking the very agent of the economy. To paraphrase Kreitner, it is not only the monetary system that is engineered, but also thinking about the money system. Our analytics are compounded of historical and ideological ingredients. Thus Kreitner’s own work on the Gold Standard, which situates that imperative within the imperial politics of the 19th century, draws out the way that the subsequent global order produces a standard with normative power for generations.[37] A wider array of studies about credit, the way markets develop in real time, and the epistemology of economics feeds into arguments about the nature of the capitalist market. They illuminate how literature and finance work together to naturalize “genres” of thought, how the technology of exchange can generate models that can in turn format future exchange, and how disciplinary fields cross-fertilize one another.[38]

On second look, the methodology that Kreitner identifies–a reflexivity of insight across registers—characterizes many contributions to money studies. Its occurrence fits the field born out of unease with conventions that write money as analytically obvious or historically predictable. Those premises become, themselves evidence of an ideological prior that is organizing thought.

A proliferation of scholars today aims to understand the practice of value—how communities conceptualize and compare it, claim, allocate, and exchange it, create and destroy it. Those debates over value are essential to the way societies define obligations and rights, conceptualize wealth, and distribute resources. As the essays gathered here suggest, there are myriad avenues we need to illuminate; each helps us understand the space we organize when we make and maintain money. I hope that mapping money and its study makes that project more visible.

[1] Peng Shepard, The Cartographers: A Novel (New York: William Morrow, 2022).

[2] Robert Brenner, “Property and Progress: Where Adam Smith Went Wrong,” in Marxist History-Writing for the Twentieth-First Century, ed. Chris Wickham (Oxford: Oxford Unversity Press, 2017), 491-111.

[3] Jon Levy, “Capital as Process and the History of Capitalism,” Business History Review, 91 (2017): 483-510, 487.

[4] For many scholars, the trend takes shape as one towards “commodification.” See, e.g., Jonathan I. Levy, Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012); Sven Beckert, Empire of Cotton: A Global History (New York: Vintage Books, 2014).

[5] See, e.g., John Clegg, “Capitalism and Slavery,” Critical Historical Studies, 2, No.2 (2015): 281-304, 284-285; Jean-Christophe Agnew, Worlds Apart: The Market and the Theater in Anglo-American Thought, 1550-1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 17-56; Joan Comaroff and John L. Comaroff, “Millennial Capitalism: First Thoughts on a Second Coming,” Public Culture, 12, No. 20 (2000): 291-343.

[6] Mark D. Flood, An Introduction to Complete Markets (St. Louis: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 1991).

[7] Marx may well have harbored a different view of money, putting it aside to address the medium postulated by his opponents. That very move should bring us to look at their premises.

[8] Perry Mehrling distinguishes finance theory from economics on the ground the latter assumes wealth generated by past investments while the former focuses on the present valuation of capital assets, identifying them as dependent on “imagined future cash flows.” As he comments, “both economics and finance abstract from money; for both of them, money is just the plumbing behind the walls, taken for granted.” Perry Mehrling, The New Lombard Street: How the Fed Became the Dealer of Last Resort (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011), 4-5.

[9] For brilliant analysis of this problem, see Andrea Orléan, The Empire of Value: A New Foundation for Economics, trans. M. B. DeBevoise (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014); see also sources cited infra note 35.

[10] Christine Desan, “The Power of Paradigms in Histories of Economic Development,” (2020). Available at:

[11] For the large proportion of the money supply created by commercial banks, see, e.g., Andrew Jackson and Benjamin Dyson, Modernising Money: Why Our Monetary System Is Broken and How It Can Be Fixed (London: Positive Money, 2013), 49.

[12] Geoffrey Ingham, “On the Underdevelopment of the ‘Sociology of Money,'” Acta Sociologica 41, No. 1 (1998): 3-18.

[13] Although beyond the scale of this colloquium, I argue that a “monetary” definition for capitalism locates it as enterprise that has both domestic and global coherence. We can understand its articulation in particular times and places, while recognizing how monetary forms and obligations could cross borders, extend, shift, and double back. More, a monetary definition would invite analyses sensitive to class without reifying those structures or relying on taxonomies. It would enable us to recognize parochial European sources of capitalism while directing us towards the way monetary projects clashed, morphed, and redefined one another world-wide in the following centuries. It opens up ways to understand extraction in racialized and gendered modes. The argument for a monetary definition of capitalism is, in other words, pragmatic. I leave essentialism aside here and mean to make a different kind of pitch: if we define “capitalism” as coming with the radically novel money that began to take hold in the early modern period, we gain light on arenas of societal life, at both elite and everyday levels, that we currently elude us even as they inform elemental dynamics.

[14] See Katie A. Moore, “The Blood That Nourishes the Body Politic: The Origins of Paper Money in Early America,” Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 17, No. 1 (2019): 1-36. Also see Katie Moore Promise to Pay: The Promise and Power of Money in Early America (forthcoming). “State-building” is my misnomer; “community-building” more accurately captures the fact that moneys appear to be made by collectives and/or polities of different types before the modern form of nation-state becomes standard. Having said that, modern money becomes a critical driver of all modern nation-states.

[15] See, e.g., Andrew David Edwards, Money and the American Revolution: Changing Concepts of Money and Wealth, 1765-1786 (Dissertation, Princeton University, 2018); Simon Middleton, The Price of the People: Money and Power in Early America (forthcoming); Catherine Desbarats, “On Being Surprised: by New France’s Card Money, for Example,” Canadian Historical Review, 102, No. 1 (2021): 125-151.

[16] The new scholars join virtuosos like Farley Grubb, Jeff Sklansky, and Woody Holton revitalizing and revising lines of insight that carry back to E. James Ferguson, Williard Hurst, and Curtis Nettels. The monetary drama continues in the next century. See, e.g., Joshua Greenberg, Bank Notes and Shinplasters: The Rage for Paper Money in the Early Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021); Mehrsa Baradaran, The Color of Money: Black Banking and the Racial Wealth Gap (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017); Bruce G. Carruthers and Sarah Babb, “The Color of Money and the Nature of Value: Greenbacks and Gold in Postbellum America,” American Journal of Sociology, 101, No. 6 (1996): 1556-1591.

[17] Rebecca Spang, Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015); David Woodruff, Money Unmade: Barter and the Fate of Russian Capitalism (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1999).

[18] See, e.g., Brian Gettler, Colonialism’s Currency: Money, State, and First Nations in Canada, 1820-1950 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020); K-Sue Park, “Money, Mortgages, and the Conquest of America,” Law & Social Inquiry, 41, No. 4 (2016): 1006-1035.

[19] The scholarship here is expansive. A few examples are Steven Serels and Gwyn Campbell eds., Currencies of the Indian Ocean World (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019); Toby Green, A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019); Jin Xu, Empire of Silver: A New Monetary History of China, trans. Stacey Mosher (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2021).

[20] See, e.g., David McNally, Blood and Money: War, Slavery, Finance, and Empire (New York: Haymarket Books, 2020); Fahad Bishara and Hollian Wint, “Into the Bazaar: Indian Ocean Vernaculars in the Age of Global Capitalism,” Journal of Global History, 16, No.1 (2021): 44-64; Ellen Nye, Empires of Obligation: Law, Money, and Debt between England and the Ottoman Empire, 1670-1720 (Ph.D. Dissertation, Yale University, 2021); Carl Wennerlind, Casualties of Credit: the English Financial Revolution, 1620-1720 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011).

[21] See, e.g., Karin Pallaver, Monetary Transitions: Currencies, Colonialism and African Societies, Palgrave Studies in Economic History (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022); Fanny Pigeaud and Ndongo Samba Sylla, Africa’s Last Colonial Currency: The CFA Franc Story (London: Pluto Press, 2021); Peter James Hudson, Banks and Empire: How Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018); Matthew Forstater, “Taxation and Primitive Accumulation: The Case of Colonial Africa,” Political Economy, 22, No. 1 (2005): 51-65.

[22] See, e.g., Edhem Eldem, “Ottoman Financial Integration with Europe: Foreign Loans, the Ottoman Bank and the Otttoman Public Debt,” European Review of Economic History, 13, No. 3 (2005): 431-445; Barry J. Eichengreen, Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998); Marcello De Cecco, Money and Empire: The International Gold Standard, 1890-1914 (London: Basil Blackwell, 1974).

[23] See, e.g., Christine Desan, “Strange New Music: The Monetary Composition Made by the Enlightenment Quartet,” in A Cultural History of Money in the Age of Enlightenment, ed. Christine Desan (London: Bloomsbury Press, 2019). Joining Knafo is important new work on English history of central banking. See, e.g., Nuno Palma, and Patrick K. O’Brien, “Not an Ordinary Bank but a Great Engine of State: The Bank of England and the British Economy, 1694-1844,” Economic History Review (forthcoming).

[24] See, e.g., Morgan Ricks, John Crawford, and Lev Menand, “FedAccounts: Digital Dollars.” George Washington Law Review 89 (2021); 113-172; Lev Menand, “Why Supervise Banks? The Foundations of the American Monetary Settlement,” Vanderbilt Law Review, 74 (2021): 951-1022; Katharina Pistor, The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019); Benjamin Braun, “Central Banking and the Infrastructural Power of Finance,” Socio-Economic Review, 18, No. 2 (2018): 395-418.; Dan Awrey, “Unbundling Banking, Money, and Payments,” Georgetown Law Journal (forthcoming).

[25] See, e.g., Gerald Epstein, The Political Economy of Central Banking: Contested Control and the Power of Finance (Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 2019); Will Bateman, Public Finance and Parliamentary Constitutionalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020); Leah Downey, “Governing Money Democratically: Re-chartering the Federal Reserve,” in A Political Economy of Justice, eds. Danielle Allen et al. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2022); Annelise Riles, Financial Citizenship: Experts, Publics, and the Politics of Central Banking (New York: Cornell University Press, 2018); Greta Krippner, Capitalizing on Crisis: The Political Origins of the Rise of Finance (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011).

[26] Jamie Martin, The Meddlers: Sovereignty, Empire, and the Birth of Global Economic Governance (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2022); Ilene Grabel, When Things Don’t Fall Apart: Global Financial Governance and Developmental Finance in an Age of Productive Incoherence (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017); Eric Helleiner, The Forgotten Foundations of Bretton Woods (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014); Richard Peet, Unholy Trinity: The IMF, World Bank and WTO, 2nd ed. (London: Zed Books, 2009).

[27] See, e.g., Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017); Wolfgang Streeck, Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism (New York: Verso, 2017); Sandy Brian Hager, Public Debt, Inequality, and Power: The Making of a Modern Debt State (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016); Thomas Philippon, “Has the US Finance Industry Become Less Efficient? On the Theory and Measurement of Financial Intermediation,” American Economic Review, 105, No. 4 (2015): 1408-1438.

[28] See, e.g., Stefan Eich, The Currency of Politics: The Political Theory of Money from Aristotle to Keynes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2022); Peter Dietsch, “Money Creation, Debt, and Justice,” Politics, Philosophy & Economics, 20, No. 2 (2021): 1510-1579; Marco Goldoni and M.A. Wilkinson, “The Material Constitution,” Modern Law Review, 81, No. 4 (2018): 567-597.

[29] Thus work that explores government enforcement of debt and credit, the money supply, and its circulation in territories subordinated in early colonial relations. See, e.g., Pamela Nightingale, Enterprise, Money and Credit in England Before the Black Death, 1285-1349 (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave MacMillan, 2018); Richard Goddard, Credit and Trade in Later Medieval England, 1353-1532 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); David Blaazer, Forging Nations: Currency, Nationality and Power in Britain and Ireland 1603-1931 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

[30] Nick J. Mayhew, “Money in England from the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century,” in Money, Currency, and Crisis: In Search of Trust, 2000 B. C. to A. D. 2000, eds. R. J. van der Spek and Bas van Leeuwen (New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis, 2018).

[31] Jennifer Bishop, “Currency, Conversation, and Control: Political Discourse and the Coinage in Mid-Tudor England,” English Historical Review, 131, No. 551 (2016): 763-792; David Fox, “The Enforcement of Nominal Values to Money in the Medieval and Early Modern Common Law,” in Money in the Western Legal Tradition: Middle Ages to Bretton Woods, eds. David Fox and Ernst Wolfgang (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016); Craig Muldrew, “Money and the Everyday,” in A Cultural History of Money in the Age of Enlightenment, ed. Christine Desan (London: Bloomsbury, 2018)

[32] Nadav Orian Peer, “Money Creation and Bank Clearing,” Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law (forthcoming).

[33] Morgan Ricks, The Money Problem: Rethinking Financial Regulation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), 52-101.

[34] See, e.g., Stephanie Kelton, “Dual Mandate—Right Goals, Wrong Agency?,” Financial Times (2013).; L. Randall Wray, Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

[35] See Mehrling supra note 7; Perry Mehrling, Payment vs. Funding: The Law of Reflux for Today (New York: Institute for New Economic Thinking, 2020).

[36] As Kreitner puts it, capitalism makes “denial of its own social basis” formative. Compare here Robert Cover’s notion that successful ideologies deny their revolutionary roots.

[37] Roy Kreitner, “The Legal History of Money,” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 8 (2012): 415-431; Roy Kreitner, “Toward a Political Economy of Money,” in Research Handbook on Political Economy and Law, eds. Ugo Mattei and John D. Haskell (New York: Edward Elgar, 2017); Roy Kreitner, “The Standard Which Is Not One: Gold and Multiple Liquidity Regimes,” JustMoney (forthcoming).

[38] See, e.g., Mary Poovey, Genres of the Credit Economy: Mediating Value in Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century Britain (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008); Michel Callon and Fabian Muniesa, “Peripheral Vision: Economic Markets as Calculative Collective Devices,” Organization Studies, 26, No. 8 (2005), 1229-1250; Michel Callon, “Some Elements of a Sociology of Translation: Domestication of the Scallops and Fishermen of St. Brieuc Bay,” in Science Studies Reader, ed. Mario Biagioli (New York: Routledge, 1999); Donald MacKenzie, An Engine Not a Camera: How Financial Markets Shape Markets (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008); Jeffrey Sklansky, The Soul’s Economy (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002); Michael Zakim, Accounting for Capitalism: The World the Clerk Made (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018).